Instagram is one of the staple apps in 2023, ranking #4 for most active social platforms. With over 1.3 billion active users, chances are your audience is there. It’s time you go meet them!

Consumers go there to browse, get inspired, shop, like, comment and engage with brands just like yours. What started as a strictly picture-sharing platform has transformed into much more as the industry demands.

From pictures to stories to reels to live videos, Instagram has a little bit of everything these days. The platform is rife with minefields, and even the simplest Instagram marketing mistakes can cause people to press that unfollow button.

According to stats, visual content gets shared 40X more than any other type of content. This increases brand exposure, generates leads, and helps build trust among customers. So when you gain new followers, you want to keep them around.

In this post we’ll go over some deadly Instagram mistakes that will lose your trust and get you unfollowed. And I promise we won’t just cover the painfully obvious ones like forgetting to make your account public or buying followers (but please don’t do either of those things!!) Plus, we include some tips to help you avoid and overcome these challenges.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Get the basics right. Have a goal, put your link in your bio, and use the right hashtags.
  • Have the right mix of quotes, memes, photos, and videos. Make them all high quality.
  • Reply to all comments. ASAP.
  • Repurpose your content cleverly.

1. Not Having A Clear Goal Defined

If you don’t have a goal, you don’t have a plan. If you have no plan, you have no direction.

If you have no direction, you have zero consistency. And this is a major turnoff to your followers because consistency is what ultimately helps build trust.

Moreover, without a clear goal, you won’t even know what you want your followers to do. So they won’t know what you want them to do, and this could result in some unfollows.

Before you start marketing on social media, outline your goals as clearly as possible. Do you want to increase brand exposure, boost sales or drive more traffic to your website?

Once you identify your goals you’ll be in a position to post content that resonates with your followers and influences them to help you achieve your goals.

2. You Don’t Have A Link In Your Bio

Instagram only allows you to add one link to your page at a time, in your bio. This used to be a pretty debilitating factor for companies with a lot of things to offer, but not anymore.

Tools like Linktree allow you to place one link in your bio that takes viewers to a landing page with even more links.

Now you can link your main website, other social accounts, important videos, multiple CTA’s, you name it, all in one place.

examples of link tree landing pages

Image Source: Link Tree

If you’re not including at least one link in your bio, you’re missing out on a lot of web traffic. Not including a link can also suggest you’re not too bothered about building a proper audience.

If you’re running a special on an item, feature it in post with a CTA like “purchase now with the link in our bio!” Make sure the link you provide delivers on promises made in your CTA, whether it be a certain product, landing or squeeze page. And if you are using a tool like Linktree, clearly label your links so people don’t get confused and leave the page without engaging.

3. Not Engaging Your Audience

There is an opportunity to engage your followers at almost every turn on Instagram. Your comment section is just the beginning.

Poor customer service is the main reason consumers abandon brands. If you don’t engage with your customers on Instagram, you’re going to lose out.

Your customers are already supporting your brand by following you, and they’re supporting it even more if they’re commenting on your photos.  If you never reply to their comments, you will look neglectful and disinterested. The more often you engage and communicate with your followers the better your customer relationships will be. Set aside 30 minutes each day to reply to comments on your posts, it will make a big difference in how your followers interact with you moving forward.

Engagement doesn’t stop there. Post a story with an “Ask me anything!” question box prompt, or create a poll surveying your followers on “what they want to see next” from you. The opportunities are truly endless, so get creative and experiment with what your audience will respond to best.

an example of IBM posting "askme anything" to their instagram story

Image Source: Contentworks

4. Thinking Quantity is More Important Than Quality

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to posting frequency. Experts recommend posting to Instagram between 3-7 times per week. But, it’s not all about singular posts anymore either, you have to consider stories, reels and live feeds as well.

If you have a small team, posting on your feed more than 1-2 times per week might be too big of a challenge. With a larger team, you may have the bandwidth to post all day long, but you don’t want to overwhelm your viewers.

Each team could benefit from exploring other posting options to make the resources last longer. The small team could post more casual stories more frequently to get their engagement up. The larger team could put more time and effort into creating reels or going live.

The key is consistency and balance. The more often you post, the more chances you have to connect with your audience. But you have to balance how often you post with the quality of content you put out. The question now is what is a quality post!?

Instagram has seen a shift away from perfectly curated feeds. Celebrities, influencers and day-to-day users alike are joining the #MakeInstagramCasualAgain movement. This means less photoshop, manicured images and more realness.

As a business, you have to take this with a grain of salt. Follow the movement, but keep it professional. Think of your brand voice and make sure your posts stay true to it.

And remember, low-resolution photos and videos are NEVER it. Low-quality photos devalue your brand and will certainly cost you some followers. Aim for images that are double the recommended size (1280x1280px) and avoid stock photos, which can look cliche and cheesy.

5. Posting Duplicate Content

The easiest way to get unfollowed on Instagram? Post the same image over and over again.

Instead of blatantly reposting, consider ways you can repurpose your content. For example, if you have a few stats that go together or items in a set you’re selling, post them in a carousel post rather than one-by-one. Then on another day highlight them one-by-one on your story instead. You can also make a reel going into more details the next day.

According to research, 27.5% of customers want entertaining content from the brands they follow. This means your images need to entertain. If you continuously post duplicate content, people will get bored.

6. Hashtags Abuse

Hashtags aren’t just a quirky way to garnish your post. They’re like the SEO of Instagram.

When used correctly, hashtags can help connect you with people browsing for your products and services. Research popular hashtags in your niche, and add them to a spreadsheet so you can easily grab and assign them to new pieces of content.

It’s also a good idea to use hashtags that you’ve created yourself. Brand specific hashtags generate a sense of community among your followers, strengthening brand loyalty.

So do you use one or two hashtags or max them out with 30 hashtags per post? While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, the posts that receive the most engagement tend to be ones with 20-30 hashtags. #GetToHashtagging!

7. Not Following Trends

Trends are more important than you may think. Sure there are some that should be left out of the marketing world, like the renegade dance, the cinnamon challenge, etc. But some of them can definitely be repurposed to help promote your brand!

Trends are trends for a reason, because people are responding well to them right now. You would be crazy not to hop on the bandwagon whenever you can.

One great example of this is Truly Beauty. The brand, who sells skincare products, posts memes and pop culture references regularly with their products making an appearance.

Image Source: Truly Beauty

Not only is this post a funny, relatable meme, but it features a slew of Truly products. This post also reminds viewers that Truly is offered at Ulta and lets them know about a sale in the caption. Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner here.

You can find more examples of this on their page, with posts that relate to the Super Bowl halftime show, popular shows like Outer Banks and more. They key here is that they repurposed trends and pop-culture references that they know their audience will enjoy.

In Conclusion

All in all, Instagram isn’t that hard to master. However, as we all know, marketing can be a dicey business. One wrong move can negate all your hard work.

Use this checklist to identify which Instagram marketing mistakes you may be making. As long as you make the suggested changes and keep pumping out awesome content, winning on Instagram will get a lot easier!


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